Elfriede Jelinek und Valie Export: Rezeption der feministischen Avantgarde Oesterreichs im deutschsprachigen Feuilleton (German text)
Lamb-Faffelberger, Margarete Barbara
Doctor of Philosophy
The writer Elfriede Jelinek and the multi-media artist Valie Export represent Austria's feminist avant-garde which evolved in the 1960s. Their work--a strong criticism of the social, economic and political situation of women in today's Austria combined with innovative avant-garde aesthetics--evoked a wide range of reactions by the press over the past 25 years. Interviews with Jelinek and Export conducted by the author and included in this study give light to the problematic relationship between the press and the artists. This dissertation presents a thorough compilation and analysis of the book, theatre and film reviews which were published in the "Fueilleton" section of German and Austrian daily and weekly newspapers. An examination of the post-war status and the intense scholarly discussion of its legitimacy in today's mass media-dominated society reveals the current crisis of "feuilletonistic" art-criticism. The clash between the provocative content and aesthetics of avant-garde art as an alternative and the media as voice of mainstream society demonstrates a climax of the problematic situation in contemporary Austria and Germany. The large number of negative reactions of Jelinek's literature and Export's films by the critics and their aggressive rhetoric had a strong influence on the general public's resentment against Austria's feminist avant-garde. Jelinek's and Exports perseverance as active feminists stands out in Austria's conservative society. Its strong social and religious traditions and patriarchal values have been the major hurdle for many women to achieve equality. The fact that Austria's women in large part still succumb to their traditional roles underscores, on the one hand, the importance of Jelinek's literature and Export's films as an artistic endeavor for consciousness-raising. On the other hand, a large majority of the media's art-critics, most of them men, show a strong reluctance to look beyond the horizons of tradition. The combination of avant-garde aesthetics and political feminist views in Jelinek's and Export's work lead therefore to rigorous misunderstandings and extreme misrepresentations of Austria's feminist avant-garde.
Modern language; Germanic literature; Women's studies; Cinema; Biographies